- Trump said he didn’t know white supremacist Nick Fuentes when Kanye West took him out to dinner.
- Governor Asa Hutchinson said Trump failed to condemn white supremacy and Holocaust denial.
- Hutchinson, a frequent critic of Trump, said he plans to run for president in 2024.
Incumbent Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was among the first elected Republicans to condemn former President Donald Trump for meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week.
In an interview with CNN On Sunday, Hutchinson, who served two terms as governor of Arkansas, was asked about the meeting, which took place at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and also included rapper Kanye West.
“Well, hopefully one day we don’t have to respond to what President Trump said or did. In that case, it’s important to respond,” Hutchinson said, going on to acknowledge the mention by host Dana Bash from her time working as a US attorney. who prosecuted members of racist militias.
“The last time I met a white supremacist was in a standoff. I had a bulletproof vest, we arrested them, prosecuted them and sent them to prison. So no, I don’t think that it’s a good idea for a leader who sets an example for the country or the party to meet an outspoken racist or anti-Semite,” Hutchinson continued, adding that leaders should avoid empowering extremists.
Trump said he agreed to have dinner with West, but the rapper unexpectedly brought several people with him, including Fuentes. A 24-year-old activist and podcaster, Fuentes is known for holding racist and anti-Semitic views, including denying the Holocaust. He attended the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, where a neo-Nazi killed a counter-protester with his car, and was described by the Justice Department as a “white supremacist”.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 27, 2022
In several Truth Social posts, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or anything about him, but did not condemn the views Fuentes espouses.
“You can have accidental meetings. Things like that happen,” Hutchinson said. “It wasn’t a chance encounter. It was a dinner date arranged with Kanye.”
The governor also said leaders must be “absolutely clear” that white supremacy and Holocaust denial were not acceptable, adding that Trump’s “failure to condemn him ‘represents the minority’ extreme” from the GOP.
Hutchinson, who was unable to seek re-election in 2022 due to term limits, has become a frequent critic of Trump, dismissing allegations of voter fraud and calling him responsible for the Capitol riot. He also said in August that he plans to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Trump announced his intention to run earlier this month.
Most elected Republicans did not condemn Trump’s meeting with Fuentes, however, other potential 2024 hopefuls have spoken, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.